Chief Justice Roberts Launches Probe Into Leaked Abortion Draft Opinion

Chief Justice John Roberts requested on Tuesday that the marshal of the U.S. Supreme Court launch a probe into a leaked draft opinion suggesting the high court is prepared to overturn the landmark ruling that made abortion legal in all 50 states — Roe v. Wade.

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The early insight into the court’s thought process — which is unprecedented — was published by Politico and shows that a majority of justices will completely nix both Roe and the high court’s related ruling in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, which largely affirmed the right to terminate a pregnancy.

Justice Roberts confirmed that the draft opinion is authentic but made sure to state it does not represent any decision by the court or the final position of the justices on the issues of the case.

“To the extent this betrayal of the confidence of the court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed,” Justice Roberts wrote. “The work of the court will not be affected in any way.”

“This was a singular and egregious breach of that trust that is an affront to the court and the community of public servants who work here,” the chief justice wrote. “I have directed the marshal of the court to launch an investigation into the source of the leak.”

The draft, which was penned by Justice Samuel Alito and supported by justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, states, “We hold that Roe and Casey must be overruled.”

“The Constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision, including the one on which the defenders of Roe and Casey now chiefly rely — the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment,” the draft opinion states.

Justice Alito criticized the Roe decision as “egregiously wrong from the start.”

“Its reasoning was exceptionally weak, and the decision has had damaging consequences,” he wrote. “And far from bringing about a national settlement of the abortion issue, Roe and Casey have enflamed debate and deepened division.”

The draft was written in February and still has the backing of the other four justices. The three justices appointed by Democratic presidents are dissenting, and it is unclear how Justice Roberts will vote.

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